The HISD Transportation department and the Houston Educational Support Personnel Union (HESP) is teaming up to fight against heart disease and encouraging employees to live a healthy lifestyle with their Love Your Heart initiative.
About 200 employees packed Northwest Motor Pool on Friday to celebrate the joint effort between Transportation and HESP to raise awareness on the importance of checking your heart health. HISD Interim Superintendent Ken Huewitt, HESP Union President Wretha Thomas and Board Trustees Harvin Moore and Rhonda Skillern-Jones were all on hand in support of the program, which is currently for Transportation employees with plans to expand into other departments.
“Our health is something that is vital to our existence,” Skillern-Jones said. “I commend both HISD Transportation and HESP for coming together and doing this event, and showing they care enough to keep all of us conscious about our health so we can do what we do for our kids on a daily basis.”
Ashley Turner, who is the daughter of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and who serves as Chief Operating Officer for Bee Busy Wellness Center, also attended the event and spoke to attendees on taking small steps toward a healthier lifestyle. Turner said while she isn’t asking employees to go out and run a marathon, simple changes such as walking for five minutes is all it takes to make a permanent lifestyle change.
The Love Your Heart event is just one collaboration between Transportation and HESP to improve health awareness among district employees. Both groups launched the fitness series Move It and Lose It, and the Health Conscious Exercise Program back in 2014. According to HESP, bus drivers who participated in the Health Conscious Exercise Program have shown reduced blood pressure and cholesterol rates, and have passed health physicals in larger numbers than in previous years.
“Those are just some of the small steps you can take to ensure you’re around for your kids and grandkids,” Skillern-Jones told attendees. “I am here to let you all know that I want to see you around being healthy so you can come back to drive our kids safely. In order to do that, we all have to take care of ourselves.”